The first phase of the pilot is complete at Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park. SIMPaCT uses machine learning and smart technology to cool the microclimate, using data sourced from a mix of environmental sensors.
A network of sensors has been set up to record soil moisture and air temperature. The information will be used to fine-tune irrigation at the park using artificial intelligence (AI). Insights will be shared online so that park users will be able to find the coolest and shadiest places in the park for picnics, play and exercise. In addition, SIMPaCT helps mitigate the Urban Heat Island effect in the adjacent residential precincts.
Winner of the national IoTAA 2023 Research Award and IoT for Good Award.
“This is not science fiction. This is real. The work helps to optimise microclimate and water use in summer. Our technology will be scalable, delivering maximum coolth from plants around buildings and parks anywhere – if you have enough water to irrigate.”Dr Sebastian Pfautsch, WSU
Green spaces such as trees, gardens and parks help keep our cities cool. This is very important as our planet gets hotter due to climate change. However, these green spaces are threatened by more frequent and intense drought and extreme heat.
At the heart of Sydney, Olympic Park’s Bicentennial Park represents more than 42 hectares of parkland. The area is maturing into one of Sydney’s most dynamic places to live, work and play, and has a vision to be Sydney’s beating green heart. As the Central River City in and around Olympic Park continues to densify, places like Bicentennial Park will need to be resilient and well managed for a rapidly growing population.
SIMPaCT is creating and testing a new digital tool to improve irrigation for Bicentennial Park. This will make the park cooler and greener for everyone to enjoy. The project is focusing on making the park a 'cool island', with far reaching thermal benefits for communities downwind from the park.
This project has set up over 50 devices to measure temperature and humidity. There are also 13 weather stations and over 200 ‘smart-soil’ devices installed across the park.
Together, these sensors will record soil moisture and air temperature information and combine it with local weather forecasts. AI will then predict when and for how long different sections of the park need to be watered. The system will work with recycled water and uses the soil moisture outcomes to learn over time the most efficient irrigation regime.
Live data about the park's conditions is also shared online, so that visitors can easily locate the coolest parts of the park.
The SIMPaCT system is designed to easily scale up or down in complexity. This allows replicating the system in any other urban irrigation project, from parks to botanic gardens, sport fields and more.
Smart Places outcome areas:
- collaboration and connection
- environmental quality
- health and wellbeing.
The project will improve:
water use efficiency and environmental benefits
the experience for residents and park visitors, with a cool refuge during hot summers and a smart park they can enjoy all year round
operational benefits, with reduced risk of asset failures and streamlined maintenance processes.
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Smart Irrigation Management for Parks and Cool Towns Project Team
Senior Manager, Engineering and Infrastructure Assets, Sydney Olympic Park Authority
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